What you should know when you replace an air conditioner with a heat pump
Have you decided to take the plunge and replace your air conditioner with a newer model? That’s a great first step. Just make sure that before you settle on a new unit, you consider all of your options. There’s more than just the air conditioner to consider. Did you know that a heat pump can be a great alternative to an air conditioner?
There’s not much that will go into switching from one system to the other – at least not any more than it would be staying with an air conditioner. The first thing to realize is that a heat pump is essentially an air conditioner, but it can also heat your home with electricity. It’s nearly the exact same process. The difference is that a heat pump can reverse the flow of refrigerant to provide warm as well as cool air. Neat, right?
You will even have the same settings on your thermostat as the traditional air conditioner/gas furnace setup. The difference is that you won’t need to use backup heating methods (like electric heat strips or your gas furnace as often). Only when your heat pump can no longer extract enough heat from the outdoor air, it will resort to supplemental backup heat. This can be great for many homeowners.
Here are some other things you should do to maximize the efficiency of your new heat pump.
- Set the thermostat to 68F in the heating season and 78F during the cooling season. Don’t mess with this temperature too much. This can lead to discomfort and higher energy bills.
- Have a contractor come out to clean and inspect your HVAC system twice a year to ensure proper performance – once before the cooling season and once before the heating season.
- Always invest in the most efficient heat pump you can afford. Although it may be more expensive up front, you won’t regret it when you see your utility bills.
- Make sure that proper airflow is ensured around the outdoor unit. This means keeping any leaves or debris away from your heat pump during the fall. Improper airflow can decrease efficiency and, potentially, harm your unit.
- Make sure you are regularly changing your furnace filter. The same principles as the last tip apply – a dirty filter can lead to decreased airflow. You also cannot ensure that your air is as fresh as possible.
Have you recently made the switch from an air conditioner to a heat pump? How has this affected your utility bills?